Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Daylight Savings Time Prep

Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend. So it’s Fall. Which means we move the clock over to the window and throw it in the neighbor’s birdbath.

The HamannEggs team is a little scared about the impending time switch. Because Elijah has been waking up at 5am lately. So very shortly it will be Elijah waking up at 4am. And I flat out refuse to wake up earlier than our nation’s senior citizens. They deserve to have first dibs at the buffet tables.

So we’ve been trying to shake up Eli’s sleep schedule in an attempt to knock his wake up time back a few minutes. We’ve put him to bed early. We’ve put him to bed late. We’ve made him take extra naps, no naps, naps on Grover. But no luck. At 5am sharp every morning we hear the telltale, “Aaarrrghh,” from Eli’s crib.

And then we broke him.

Two nights ago, he punished us by not sleeping a wink. Not a moment from 7:30pm to 5am. So our house became two zones. Zone 1: Swear Zone. Zone 2: Helpful Parent Zone. Allow me to demonstrate.

There would be exactly 35 seconds of silence where Diana and I would pray a little pray that this would be the moment he would finally sleep. And then we’d hear, “Aaaarrrgh.” At which point we’d start with the swearing. “Why won’t he #%$@##%@% sleep? What the &^%? *(&^*&^%%$ damned (&*&%!”

But then we (Diana) would open our adjoining doors and walk into Zone 2. “Hey buddy. I’m so sorry you can’t sleepy. What can I do? Rock you? Here. Let me rock you. I love you.”

Zone 1 got progressively more sweary throughout the night.

At 5am, Diana decided enough was enough and took the child downstairs for Sesame Street. I came down later and tried to talk to Elijah.

“Hey man. Why didn’t you sleep last night? Don’t you know little guys need sleep?”


“Yes I see the shoe. But mommies need sleep. Babies need sleep too.”


“Ok, let’s put the shoe down.”


Sunday, October 26, 2008


I’ve gone on record as saying I don’t like Elijah’s long hair. For one thing, being as beautiful as he makes gender identification difficult enough for the general public as it is. Add in golden locks and we might as well have named him Elaine.

But whenever I complain about it, Diana uses her secret weapon. She simply says, “If you want him to have shorter hair, YOU cut it.” At which point I’d slink away, mumbling about how I get no respect I tells ya, and tugging at my tie. My laziness is my Achilles heel.

Well, last night I’d had enough of him looking like a cross between Brian Bosworth and Farah Faucet. So while I was in mid bath with Eli, I proclaimed loudly, “It's time! Woman, get me some scissors!” Diana yelled from the other room, “No no no no!” But I was adamant. She reluctantly handed me some shears and a plastic comb and sat perched on the end of the tub.

“Careful. He gets his power from his hair,” she said.

I ignored her and took a huge chunk out of our tiny Sampson’s hair. And then another and then another. Diana began to shake. “Give me those scissors, you butcher.”

We wrestled over the boy’s hair, snatching the scissors out of each other’s hands and attempting our own version of awesome. By the time he emerged from the bath he looked like someone had at his hair with a band saw and a spoon.

Luckily, Eli doesn’t seem to care about his looks. His mother, on the other hand, is mortified at his homespun do.

Today’s photo is all that Diana will allow the viewing public to see of his new haircut.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Life is pretty easy for a beautiful baby. You essentially have to blink your big blue eyes and the world is your oyster. This morning Elijah got a tough life lesson in the form of his first bully.

If you’re gonna write a family sitcom, sooner or later you have to do the inevitable bully storyline. Remember when Bobby Brady punched out that kid who made fun of Cindy’s lisp and then gave the bully a lisp and he had to borrow Cindy’s “She Sells Sea Shells By The Seashore” book?

Now, why can I remember that but not remember to rinse off my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher? Oh yeah. The booze.

Eli was already off his game this morning because he woke me up at 5:15am and I spent the next two hours asking him why he enjoys torturing me. By the time Di woke up Elijah was sleepy and whiney and in a snit. So Diana went to her “go to” whenever he gets to be a sourpuss: The Library!

As I’ve said before, Elijah loves the library. Mostly because there is a giant stuffed bear and lots of spit-covered toys. But I secretly think he likes it because the other moms fawn over him and look at their own children like there are ogres compared to our curly blonde cutie pie.

But Elijah encountered a young, rolly polly Germany toddler who, unprovoked, stiff armed my son and knocked him to the ground. Apparently the only injury sustained was a crushing realization that not everyone is nice and cool and gives you kisses. And some people, some two-year-olds in fact, are actually future a-holes.

When Diana told me this story, I was fairly bummed out. I didn’t want him to learn some people are a-holes until he was well into his advertising career.

p.s. Today’s photo is a very blurry representation of Eli trying on his anti a-hole helmet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Christening 2: Elijah’s Revenge

Last Sunday was Steve’s daughter Rory’s wedding. I mean christening. Diana had an out of town Wine Goddess thing, so it was just Elijah and me. I figured I’d put the kid in a cute outfit, we’d sit quietly in the pew, pray, and have a pizza party.

Right? Right?

Once we arrived at the church, Elijah caught a terrible case of the Terrible Twos. As soon as the priest started his routine, Eli recognized him as the guy who poured holy water on his head six months ago. His reaction was, “He aint getting me this time. I can run now.”

And no amount of looking through the hymnal would appease him. He started shrieking and I realized I was fast becoming known as the Guy Who Ruined The Christening.

So I snatched the squirming screaming boy and ran out of the church’s side door. Eli instantly calmed down and started sniffing the church flowers.

But it was 55 degrees and Eli was jacketless. I thought the only worse then ruining the christening was ruining my son. So I carried him back inside the church. I was able to watch the priest pour holy water over Rory’s head. She barely blinked. She had this awesome “Oh, well I guess I’m Catholic now” expression.

Eli began shrieking again and I worried the priest would drop the next baby into the bath. So I spent the rest of the time bouncing inside and outside based on Eli’s shivering and shrieking.

The pizza party was a bit better. Elijah was able to chase various children around. But the moment I put him in a highchair to eat delicious pizza, he pitched his head back and started howling. I decided this was the perfect time to buy everyone in the party a beer on me.

I got Eli home and found the angriest poo I’ve ever seen in his diaper. Maybe that was causing his troubles.

p.s. Today’s photo is of Rory and Jabba The Hut. I’m sure she’ll be totally cool with that shot when she’s 16.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fool Me Three Times, Shame On Everybody

I’m tempted to just type “So, Diana was in the tub with Elijah…” and let everyone just fill in their own scatological story. But this one is too good to pass up.

I was in the office reading up on Huffington Post, the world’s most liberal website. Did you know Republicans are evil? Anyhoo, I heard Diana shout, “Rick! Get in here!” from the bathroom.

I strolled over knowing full well what awaited me: An angry mommy, an oblivious baby and a floating poopie. I was right on all accounts. As I lifted the slightly lighter Eli out of the tub, Diana gave me the details.

Apparently, in the midst of squirting each other with plastic bath toys, Eli suddenly stood up and said, “Pooh…”

Diana, seeing no poo, thought he did a #1 in the tub. Gross enough, but she corrected him in an attempt to lay the groundwork for future potty training. “No, pee!”

“Pooh,” Elijah said.

“Pee,” Diana said.

“Pooh,” Elijah said.

“Pee,” Diana said.

And then Eli made his point. A horrible, horrible hilarious point.

Since that poo story is a little, um, light, I’ll give you a two-fer today. Eli loves the alphabet. Thank you Sesame Street. But he still hasn’t gotten the hang of all 26 letters. In fact, he really only knows E, C, D, and Z. But he knows the cadence of the alphabet song. So feel free to sing along with Eli as he recites the alphabet:


Thursday, October 16, 2008

CSI Sesame Street

I rushed home last night to watch the presidential debate. Luckily, Elijah was still awake and finishing up Naked Crazies upstairs. So I rushed up to force him into kissing me. I popped into our bedroom to change clothes and I stopped short.

Laying on our bed, was a gutted, dismembered corpse of the Sesame Street character Elmo. All that was left was a head and red-furred skin. As shocked as I was about the viciousness of the attack, I was more traumatized by the killer’s need to display the body on our marital bed. The eyes. They wouldn’t stop looking at me.

Eli stumbled into the room and I said in a whisper, “Honey…did…did you kill Elmo?” Eli laughed and ran back to his toys.

I began to panic. Surely a beloved Muppet like Elmo would be missed. And since Elijah is Elmo’s #1 fan, he’d be at the top of the police’s list of suspects.

I had to make a plan. I had to get the body out of the house without the neighbors seeing, or Oscar The Grouch (it was trash day, after all).

But as I collected the body, I realized it was a Halloween costume.

So he’s going as Elmo this year, everybody! Set your cameras for cute. Based on his general hatred of having anything on his head, I’m guessing he will be in the Elmo corpse costume for about 25 seconds.

p.s. I keep forgetting. Eli now dips towels into Grover’s water dish and tries to suck on the dog water. We have to put up a baby gate to prevent him from being the grossest baby in the history of the world. That has nothing to do with today's post, but I'm sure I'll want to remember this tidbit of gross years from now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Young Man And The Sea

We took Elijah and Grover to the beach Sunday to celebrate the last day of Indian Summer before the hammer of winter rubs our face into snow drifts and shoves snow down our jackets and hits us with a snowball I’m SURE has stones in it.

As usual, Grover was intent on chasing his tennis ball until either his heart exploded or my arm fell off. Diana was intent on keeping an eye on our wandering Catholic.

About 3,000 tennis ball throws in, Eli turned on a dime and went walking away from us. Diana gave me a look like, “Let’s see where this goes,” and we followed the child. Eli started walking towards the lake, which was a good three football fields away.

Never once did he turn around to see if we were watching him, following him or preventing him from being kidnapped by Northwestern Unversity students bent on forcing him into their sick world of study groups and Birkenstocks.

Eli continued on and into the lake. Way into the lake. He did not stop until a wave knocked him backwards. And luckily into the arms of his mother. He snapped out of his trance and said, “Up up up!”

Once Diana put him down again, he started off for the lake and got soaked and knocked over again. Diana grabbed him and we started for the car with Eli wailing and pointing back to the lake.

I began to wonder if Eli was really our baby. Maybe he was an alien from planet Lake Michigan, who was being called home a la E.T. That would suck. I really like Eli.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Unnecessary Roughness

For the first year of Elijah’s life, I treated him like a Faberge Egg. Even though our nurses at the hospital tossed him around like a rag doll, I was convinced if I was too rough with him I’d pop one of his arms off like a cupie doll.

But now that he’s mobile, he can barely make it across the living room without bashing into something. Usually me. But every once and a while he will take a serious tumble that makes me shout, “Nooo! Faberge Baby!”

Yesterday, we visited some of Diana’s friends from Berkeley who moved to Evanston. Aside from having a house that makes ours look like pile of wet matchsticks, they had two cute boys who book-ended Eli in age and an endless array of cool toys and balls and plastic things without sharp edges. So Eli did as always does when he finds himself among people of his own height: he went nuts.

He spent roughly three hours running at top speed throughout the Berkeley friends house screaming his head off. Luckily, the Berkeley boys were also well versed in the screaming arts.

As we were having a post dinner glass of wine and attempting to have an adult conversation over the delighted howls, I watched as Eli ran clockwise around a couch and Jonah, the eldest boy ran counterclockwise. Completely unable to stop the impending crash, my brain began to assume the voice of an NFL sportscaster.

“4th and two. This is a do or die moment for team Hamann. Clock is running down. Here’s the snap. Hamann hands off to Hamann. Hamann cuts to the outside…he has daylight…15…10…5…Ohhhh! He gets tattooed by Jonah!”

Eli bounced off the boy and flew backwards. Luckily, his face broke his fall. As he lay there, I began collecting our things and Diana rushed over to our clump of baby. Nothing ends a night faster than a hysterical child.

Jonah attempted to give Eli a pile of colorful magnets as a get-well gift. But Eli was too hurt and angry to accept. But we were able to calm him down with a fist full of raspberries.

But by the time we got home Eli had forgotten all about his face plant. And I realized I have to teach him the fine art of Juking.

And when he's older I'll have to teach him about using two analogies in one paragraph (see: first paragraph).

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Occasionally at HamannEggs Headquarters the writing staff (me) gets into a bit of a rut. It’s hard to come up with things that are on the verge of being funny all the time. Especially when my interaction with the child during the week involves watching him watch Sesame Street in the morning and hearing him shout, “Hi dada!” from his crib when I get home at night.

So yesterday I tried to engage in a little HamannEggs reporting. I emailed Diana and asked her to pass along any funny, or poo-related stories. Her response, and this is a direct quote from my email inbox, was:

“How about that he's the cutest baby in the world. The world!!”

Jeeze. How am I supposed to keep readership above the 7 person level with material like that?

When I got home last night (after hearing Elijah shout, “Hi Dada!” from his crib), I sat Marianna down and asked her if Eli did anything funny that day. Her response was, “Oh. He is an angel. He is so smoochy. Soooooo smoochy.”

I said, “Yeah yeah. HamannEggs covered that July 8th. What else do you have?”

Marianna said, “Ohh. He say, ‘Ooo ooo aahh ahhh.’ Just like the Nemo movie!”

I said, “Do you even read HamannEggs? We did a story about that September 28th.”

Marianna said, “He’s smoochy.”

Diana promised me that she has some funniness from their visit to Story Time at the library. But I have to check her sources.

A big HamannEggs thank you to Juliet Greenberg, our friend who works at Pixar. She sent Eli an awesome Finding Nemo pillow, which is now a permanent member of Eli’s crib managerie. This morning Eli spend a half hour saying, “Ooo ooo aahh ahhh” to said pillow before saying his most favorite sentence, “Mama! Up up up!”

Then I get to say to Diana, “He’s asking specifically for you.” And then I go back to sleep.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mutt and Finn

Given how awesome Elijah is, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that we will add another member to HamannEggs in the next 2-40 years. Di and I have even talked about the subject in theory. Like the theory that intelligent life exists in the universe. Or the theory that McCain can win Illinois in the general election. But unless a brother or sister arrives via spaceship, a la E.T., the boy will be an only child for the near future.

But every once and a while I get a glimpse of what the house will be like if and when we have another baby. And it will be crazy.

Today, uncle Steve and cousin Finn came over to watch the beginning of the White Sox game. Normally, Finn and Eli have a kind of United States/Canada relationship. They play near each other and generally pretend the other doesn’t exist. And occasionally cross the border to get cheap whiskey or dodge the draft.

But for some reason today they decided to join forces for the first time ever. And the results were hilariously loud. They spent the entire time chasing each other and screaming at each other and throwing soccer balls across the living room. If they weren’t being so darned cute, I would have noticed the windows were rattling at their shrieks. Grover stood at the back gate patiently for five minutes before I noticed and freed him into the quiet, quiet yard.

Occasionally, the duo would collapse in a pile of exhaustion. At which point Steve would shakily open two beers before the screaming began again.

I began to wonder what will happen when the two of them decide mischief is more fun than simply chasing each other. I see shaved dogs, broken windows and flaming bags of poo in our future.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Word From The Dog


You know what? I’ve been pretty cool about the human puppy so far. From the moment that little poop factory came into my life, I went from being numero uno (pets, treats and runs ever time I want) to a second-class citizen. But I was ok with that. I got it. He smells like a combination of the Woman and the Mailman, so I knew he was important.

But I could always count on two things in life. One: The Man always smells like beer and panic. And Two: When the Man and Woman and human puppy leave, I get a treat. Case closed.

You know what happened yesterday? The human puppy ate my treat!

The Woman and the human puppy were on their way out of the house. I knew because they put on extra layers of fur. And then the human puppy went over to my cave in the back of the house and started pointing at my treats. The little hairless ape was going to give me a treat! I was like, “Now were talking.”

I ran across the house to him and put on my Cute Face. I open my mouth really wide and pant and cock my head. No human can resist giving me a treat when I do that.

So the Woman comes over and says, “Blah blah blah Grover blah treat.” But she grabs the treat box and I know it’s on.

She handed the human puppy a treat and I sit pretty waiting for it…waiting for it…waiting for it. AND THE HUMAN PUPPY TAKES A BITE OUT OF MY TREAT! I was like, “Whoa there human puppy. What’s up with that?”

Thankfully, the Woman yanked the treat out of his hands and said in her voice that’s usually reserved for making me feel bad about marking my territory inside, “Blah blah blah Grover Blah blah blah treat.”

And then the puppy starts screaming and pointing at my treat.

The Woman sighs and carries the human puppy out of the house. On her way out she gives me the treat with the bite out of it. Gross. Have you seen the inside of a human’s mouth?

I wanted to throw the treat right at the human puppy. But I don’t have thumbs. So I ate the treat. But I didn’t like it. OK. I liked it.

Grover out.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


It looks like the collapse of the economy is hitting the old HamannEggs pretty hard. We’ve resorted to feeding Elijah Milkbone dog biscuits.

Now, this is a clear example of why I love Diana Hamann. She is the greatest mom ever. She would throw herself in front of a bus to protect our son. But on the other hand, she allows Elijah to learn some of life’s lessons on his own. Like, for instance, that Milkbone dog biscuits do not taste very good unless you are a dog.

My favorite part is the fact that instead of rushing over and screaming, “No! Dirty!” and calling the E.R. to have his stomach pumped, she took the time to go get our camera and document his dog biscuit eating for posterity.

Take a moment to review the photos. They are priceless. Especially the last one, in which the full realization of eating dog food hits him like a ton of bricks.